bergmann's rule

Entry 28: Javan Tiger (Panthera tigris sondaica)

Once an inhabitant of the island of Java, the Javan Tiger were much smaller than their mainland cousins, the Sumatran Tiger due to Bergmann’s Rule of island inhabitants.  The males weighed in only at 100 to 141 kg (220 to 311 lb) and females at 75 to 115 kg (165 to 254 lb), but both sexes possessed a longer and narrow nose and occipital plane than the more recognized Sumatran.  This has caused debate on if it were it’s own separate species in recent studies.

In the 1800s, Javan tigers still inhabited much of their native island.  However, the rapid rise in human population meant a lack of food for this population.  Rice production increased, converting 92% of Java’s natural forests into  food production or human habitations.  This pressed the Javan Tiger into the more mountainous regions of the country where rugged terrain made it difficult to farm.

Unfortunately, the new global trade after WWII pressed the small island nation to increase plantation farming for rubber, teak, coffee, and other products.  The tiger’s prey, which included rush deer, banteng, and wild boar, were poisoned or lost to disease in the 1960s.  Civil war and poaching eliminated the last of the species sometime in the 1970s, though some groups continue to search for traces of a fragmented population.

Extinction Date According to the IUCN: 2003

Has it ever occurred to anyone that mermaids would probably have to be gigantic?

Because they have human proportions and no blubber to retain body heat, the only other way for them to maintain core temperature would probably be to have a much larger volume-to-surface area ratio, and unlike landbound giants they’d have the benefit of water support for the exponential weight increase.

Giant mermaids. It’s science.